On October 5, 2022, the Omaha World-Herald reported that Omaha Public Schools is “investing $460,000 from its federal money to implement more social and emotional learning districtwide.” This is from COVID relief funds that the federal government distributed to schools in an effort to ensure students were provided with a proper education while adapting to a pandemic environment. The newspaper continued to report that “the money has paid for the Second Step curriculum to be incorporated into all K-8 schools.” The newspaper then reported:
OPS schools are also incorporating SEL into daily activities. For example, Bryan Middle School hands out “Bear Bucks” to get rewards for positive behavior. The school has already handed out 11,000 Bear Bucks this year.
The school will reportedly promote Social Emotional Learning further and is “currently searching for proposals from companies who can provide online emotional regulation and mindset tools that could be used in all grade levels.” Companies have until October 24 “to submit their proposals for the materials.”
Second Step is an organization known for promoting political ideologies in its SEL curricula. Second Step states on its website that the organization is “committed to addressing racial injustice and helping you drive real change in your school communities.” The organization also provides resources for educators to implement equity into the classroom. Two of the resources that Second Step has offered are called “Talking to Kids About Racial Identity” and “Starting in the Classroom.”
The school district’s website has a “Social Emotional Learning” page that also promotes CASEL. CASEL is an organization that works with school districts throughout the country to use SEL in an effort to push “equity” and “social justice” in education. On July 1, 2020, CASEL promoted “racial justice” in discussing its roadmap for reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. In explaining the importance of the reopening process for schools, the organization stated that “this moment called on all members of our school communities to deepen our social and emotional competencies and create equitable learning environments where all students and adults process, heal, and thrive.” CASEL also published a video in 2020 titled “SEL As a Lever for Equity and Social Justice.”